You probably wonder why some recipes get out of the crockpot with incredible taste while some others don’t. Though it concerns with your cooking process, it also has something to do with the proper usage of the slow cooker. With our following article, you can get a complete idea on how to use slow cooker.
Things to Do
You have to perform and follow some certain things regarding its performance to receive the best output from the cooker.
Take the right cooker size having sufficient capacity. You should fill between one-half to two-thirds of the capacity to have the best result.
Lean meat cuts are quite expensive that tends to dry out at long heating duration. Therefore, it is better to go for cheaper meat cuts that are rich in fat/connective tissue. They gradually break down over long heating time and keeps the meat tender & juicy all the way.
Almost all common dairy products like milk, cream easily breaks down and starts coagulating upon overheating. So, skip adding them on initial cooking time. You need to add these ingredients on the last 15 – 30 minutes of cooking and then gently stir to ensure reasonable heating.
Things to Avoid
Apart from things to do, there are some particular things you always need to skip to get the best taste from the meal.
Regardless of the food type, you must not place them inside the cooker when they are freezing cold. If you do so, the timerequired to reach the safe temperature and cooking will increase.
As the slow cooker functions with trapped heat, you must avoid frequent opening of the top lid. When you have to stir/peek the ingredients, don’t make large opening space to allow heat escape.
Washed meat or vegetables contribute to the liquid amount by themselves while cooking. This is why you mustn’t add excess water than necessary which can easily trigger longer cooking time.
You have to avoid storing food in the refrigerator using the ceramic liner as it doesn’t allow proper cooling. Also, it may cause specific problems if you directly drive the warm food inside.
Using Slow Cooker Efficiently
Every cooker comes with its own user manual and you should go through it properly in the first place. Knowing the instructions, the cooking becomes pretty straightforward and simple.
- Preparation for Cooking: Though slow cookers require little preparation; you have to take care a few things. Check the interior portion and take out any residuals if present there, it is better to wash off the cooker before each application. You need to chop the meat in suitable shapes and chuck the vegetables in reasonably smaller pieces. But you have to ensure that the cooking ingredients have at least a temperature of 140°F so that the cooking doesn’t get any slower. Again, pre-heating the cooker to some extent will do good with your cooking.
- Loading the Ingredients: Depending on the crock size, you have to load a reasonable amount of meat/vegetables. For a greater amount of meal, you will need something big having sufficient capacity.
It differs according to models and you should get here to know about the size and capacity of the current best slow cookers.
How much you fill the interior also has a great impact on the cooking. If you fill the entire capacity with cooking ingredients, it will take much longer time than anticipated. Whatever happens, don’t overfill the tank. A space of 1/3 – ¼ of the interior should hold the vapor regardless of its capacity. For dense products, you need to carefully arrange the bottom. Try to keep the heavier ones at the bottom and lighter ones at the top.
- Cooking from Top to Bottom: Featuring built-in temperature and timer settings, you can set the cooking time with ease. Timing with a slow cooker is not very strict and you can reduce the cooking heat and leave the ingredients to simmer for a longer time. This holds quite well when you prepare dinner
intheearly morning or some dishes before you go outside. Apart from that, you must remember the top lid which plays an essential role in proper cooking. Without top lid, the heat gets dissipated into the air and you will have to wait a long time to finish your cooking. As the lid helps to maintain a uniform heating condition, it keeps the perfect cooking environment all along inside the crock. Just open the lid a bit to stir the ingredients over a particular time.
- Cleaning Out the Interior: After you take out the cooked meal from the crock, you better wash it off as early as possible. It is indeed a great feature with slow cooker having removable pot. Therefore, all you will need is to remove the crock from the assembly and wash it properly to keep it clean and ready for the next cooking session.
Time Conversions for Slow Cooker
This implies the basic rule but you should check out the manual to ensure the time requirement which may vary according to models.
Conventional Oven Cooking = Slow Cooking
15-30 mins = 1-2 hrs (High)/4-6 hrs (Low)
35-40 mins = 3-4 hrs (High)/6-8 hrs (Low)
50 mins-3 hrs = 4-6 hrs (High)/8-18 hrs (Low)
Choosing Recipes for Slow Cooker
Almost all the common recipes of casserole suit well enough for the slow cooker. You may not get it very beneficial unless you reduce the amount of liquid required. You should reduce the amount by 1/3 in case of regular applications. Meanwhile, you can also thicken the cooked sauce at the end. You can add ½-1 tablespoon of cornflour to one small cup of sauce and stir for 15 minutes.
Use The Cooker in Summer Days
You don’t have to restrict your cooking to winter soups/stews with a slow cooker as some think of this appliance suitable only for winter. There are several summer recipes that suit incredibly good for the cooker. Whether it is BBQ pulled buns or cooked peppers for pizza top peperonata, you can have the best taste in warm summer days.
Things to Remember
Overall, there are some specific key points you need to keep in your mind all along to get the most tasteful meal.
- For better taste and flavor, brown your cooking meat in the first place.
- Try to keep the vegetables sufficiently chunky to allow them retaining their shape.
- Keep the herbs submerged inside as much as possible to get the natural flavor.
- Don’t exceed 1/3 of liquid than general requirement to prevent longer cooking time.
- Thick the sauces if necessary using slightly additional water mixed with cornflour.
- Slow cooking process allows you to do cooking before going to sleep/work.
Effective usage of the slow cooker is an important requisite before you venture into slow cooking world. This is why certain tips and tricks hold sufficiently beneficial for beginners to professionals. We tried to give a complete coverage on how to use slow cooker with utmost efficiency. And with that, you can have the best meal of the day each time you use your slow cooker.